Sunday – July 12, 2009 –
Today Jeff and I woke up stoked for some epic snorkeling. Afterall, we were going to see one of the natural wonders of the world! We booked a tour with Haba charters on our journey to see the Great Barrier Reef. At 8:30 a.m., we boarded our boat at Marina Mirage. Our 74-foot catamaran, named the Evolution, took about 50 of us on an eight-hour tour. Some of us would be snorkeling while others would be diving.
The weather was stormy at first, and the water was very choppy on the journey, despite our fancy speedboat. Our boat hit a 32-knot top speed on the journey to the reef. We watched a video onboard that oriented us to the reef. A built-in glass observation floor allowed us to observe the reef below when we arrived.
This tour was fantastically organized! In addition to the ecological talk, a guided tour was included along with all the snorkeling gear and wetsuits for the cold Coral Sea. We stopped at two dive locations to see different parts of the reef. It was by far the best snorkeling I had ever experienced, even on a stormy day. The reef was just massive! I only wished I had shaved by goatee because I had to put vasoline on my beard to get the mask to stay on! Later we enjoyed a great tropical buffet lunch. Also, Jeff and I bought a dvd of photos that one of our photographers took underwater.
On the way back, we saw Batt Reef, where “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin died snorkeling after a stingray barb went through his chest into his heart. He and his crew were filming a documentary called The Ocean’s Deadliest when the stingray lashed him with its tail and toxic barb. We didn’t see any rays ourselves. However, we saw a number of fish including perch, sea bass and large barracuda! We arrived back in Port Douglas around 16 p.m.
Upon our arrival back at the hotel, we used the video Skype app from my iPod Touch to talk with my Mom and Dad back home. This was amazing technology thanks to our free WiFi! That evening we ate dinner at 2 Fish Restaurant on Macrossan Street in Port Douglas. We had some great mahi mahi and shrimp that were sumptuous.
After such an adventurous day, we slept well with dreams of fish filling our heads.